Analysis Of Malaria

1207 words - 5 pages

Malaria is one of the most prevalent and serious illnesses that affects a majority of the world’s population. The disease spreads through a specific type of mosquito, belonging to the genus anopheles, which has the ability to transmit the malaria parasite into human body while feeding on the human blood. Malaria is caused by the single celled, protozoan parasite called plasmodium. Plasmodium has a complex life cycle and is able to get into the human cells at a very fast rate. It is able to evade immune responses as it produces multiple surface proteins that keep varying in type and signals. Hence a vaccine targeting a specific protein cannot be used. Vaccines for malaria produced so far have all been subunit vaccines as the whole parasitic genome is not used and hence not enough of an immune response is produced to completely kill the parasite.(1)
The centre for disease control and prevention has provided data on how many people worldwide are affected by this disease. They calculated that approximately “3.3 billion people live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 109 countries and territories. 35 countries (30 in sub-Saharan Africa and 5 in Asia) account for 98% of global malaria deaths”.(1) The World Health Organization which has taken on this disease and are in pursuit of trying eradicate in areas affected by this endemic, “estimate that malaria causes 190 - 311 million clinical episodes, and 708,000 - 1,003,000 deaths worldwide out of which 89% of the malaria deaths occur in Africa”.(1, 2) They have found that among infectious diseases such as HIV/AID and tuberculosis which are causing endemics worldwide, “malaria is the 5th cause of death from infectious diseases worldwide and is the 2nd leading cause of death from infectious diseases in the third world countries, after HIV/AIDS”.(1)
The following four species of Plasmodium cause malaria: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malaria, and Plasmodium ovale. Of these, it is P. falciparum that accounts for the highest mortality rate (3, 4). Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes attach themselves to the vascular endothelium of venular blood vessel walls and do not freely circulate in the blood. When this aggregation of infected erythrocytes occurs in the vessels of the brain it is believed to be a factor in causing the severe disease syndrome known as cerebral malaria, which is associated with high mortality.(3)
Many studies and research article have shown that heat shock proteins play an important role in the survival of P. falciparum against temperature changes which are associated with its passage from the cold-blooded mosquito vector to the warm-blooded human host. There is growing evidence that heat shock proteins from P. falciparum could play a cytoprotective role in the life cycle of the parasite by acting like a chaperone at the host–parasite interface (3,5). Since the life cycle of P. Falciparum transcends across two habitats (the cold-blooded mosquito...

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